Colin Kaepernick, a former 49ers quarterback who started a nationwide protest on police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem, has been named ‘Citizen of the Year’ by GQ Magazine.
The magazine compared Kaepernick to American sports heroes such as Muhammad Ali, who opposed the Vietnam War.
“He’s been vilified by millions and locked out of the NFL – all because he took a knee to protest police brutality,” the magazine said of Kaepernick’s protest.
“It cost him his job. It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance.
“Kaepernick’s determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson – athletes who risked everything to make a difference,” it said.
Kaepernick declined to be interviewed by GQ but posed for pictures. He posted a message on Twitter, saying he was “honored’ by the recognition.
Kaepernick’s protest on injustices and police brutality started in August 2016, but quickly spread into protests far and wide inspiring athletes to kneel during the season, well into 2017.
Not long after his protest, Kaepernick would receive a slew a backlash and abuse from criticizers saying the football player is simply unpatriotic for his way of protesting.
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While Colin Kaeprernick declined to interview with GQ, the magazine permeates the message clear that Kaepernick “will not be silenced”.
“In 2013, Colin Kaepernick was on the cover of this magazine because he was one of the best football players in the world. In 2017, Colin Kaepernick is on GQ’s cover once again—but this time it is because he isn’t playing football. And it’s not because he’s hurt, or because he’s broken any rules, or because he’s not good enough. Approximately 90 men are currently employed as quarterbacks in the NFL, as either starters or reserves, and Colin Kaepernick is better—indisputably, undeniably, flat-out better—than at least 70 of them. He is still, to this day, one of the most gifted quarterbacks on earth. And yet he has been locked out of the game he loves—blackballed—because of one simple gesture: He knelt during the playing of our national anthem. And he did it for a clear reason, one that has been lost in the yearlong storm that followed. He did it to protest systemic oppression and, more specifically, as he said repeatedly at the time, police brutality toward black people.”